Subversion

Posted: January 14, 2009 in Church, Crosspoint, Perspective

In the past few days, I’ve thought a lot about how Satan attacks us – and he does, to be clear. 

***

Let me digress a second:  As I’ve blogged before, Satan is real and he hates us.  But knowing how he attacks us is important.  As C.S. Lewis pointed out in the preface to The Screwtape Letters, Christians/people tend to make 2 mistakes when it comes to Satan:  (1) Seeing demonic forces behind every bad thing that happens, or (2) not seeing them at all.

For me, it’s easier to lean towards error #2.  After all, when someone brings up Satan or demonic forces, images from The Exorcist pop into my head and it almost sounds like something out of sci-fi or horror.  Or it’s the stuff religious nuts over-spiritualize when they want to blame everything on Satan rather than take responsibility for their own sins (I’ve definitely seen that one – when people say, “the devil’s attacking me,” and all you want to cry back is, “Stop looking at porn, then, you moron!”.

But here’s the truth – you work in/serve in/lead in a church long enough, any doubts you had before about Satan’s existence and his hardcore means of attacking us will be laid to rest quickly.

Digression complete.  Back to my thoughts.

***

I think one of the ways Satan has been attacking us lately is to snowball us.  By that, I mean little things here that add up to more little things there that suddenly become big things, and suddenly we’re overwhelmed and immobilized by the pressure of all these little things.

This past Sunday is a case in point:  Details were going wrong.  Things were happening like the power going out mid-worship song, having a drink spilled on me right after that, developing an abdominal muscle cramp in the middle of the last song so bad that I had to hurry off the stage so I could do something simple like breathe and stand up at the same time.  And this is just the short list.  Throw in more things and the occasional personal sin issue or interpersonal misunderstanding, this list doesn’t just add up – it explodes exponentially.

The snowball effect.  One thing goes wrong, then another, then another, suddenly you can’t move, ’cause you’re in over your head (and yes, I stole that from Shane Falco in The Replacements).  Your frustration increases, and your focus diminishes.  When you’re leading and serving in what I think is the MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD (reaching the lost), frustated and un-focused (or worse) is EXACTLY where Satan wants us to be – where we become impotent as servants or leaders.

And these are just the small things.  Imagine how this works when it’s large things.  People who are under the attack in their finances, their marriages, their parenting, their past sins, and maybe even their health.

You see, Satan does not have the power to snatch us out of God’s hand.  But he does have the power to try to keep us from being God’s hands in this world.  He can discourage us from pressing on and being effective as soldiers in a war for the souls of the lost.  If we’re demoralized, it’s easier to give up than keep on fighting.

And if this is where God let us rot – under Satan’s attacks – then this post would end right here.  “Sorry guys, didn’t mean to screw up your whole outlook on life.  Buh-bye, now.”

No, God does not leave us here.  He has this uncanny ability to take anything Satan does…ANYTHING HE DOES…and use it for his own glory.  Small example:  When the power went out mid song Sunday, yes, it was distracting – but we did NOT stop praising God.  We pressed on, and the moment became more powerful than anything we’d “programmed” in our service planning.  Thank you God, for reminding us that this service is about You and not us – and that you’ll be glorified no matter what (or who)  happens to try to derail your work.

I’ve seen people draw closer to God after losing a loved one.  I’ve seen people turn an addiction to porn into a ministry to help others get out of addiction to porn.  I’ve seen people who were once at each other’s throats become best friends.

You see, God has this uncanny ability to take something that sucks – something wrong, something horrific, something evil, and transform it just like he transforms people.  There is subversion – a sneaky reversal of Satan’s will.  Satan attacks, but God still wins.  Don’t you think that pisses Satan off just  a little bit?  To know that God can take even his worst attacks, and transform them into yet more opportunities for people to connect with Christ.  BAM!  Rejoice when Satan attacks us, because – even though we couldn’t kick him in the cahoneys – God CAN.

And this past Sunday, he did.  In spite of everything that went wrong, God got MORE glory than we had planned and people’s lives were changed.  If that doesn’t recharge your batteries (to serve/lead, etc.), I don’t know what will!

Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

All things, good or evil, work together for good…  I’m blown away that our God can do that.  Aren’t you?

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Comments
  1. Joe Average says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. We got to keep our eyes on the basics. God loves us, and knows the best way to teach us… and we can see His glory if we’re willing to pay attention. 🙂

    Best wishes.

  2. jalack says:

    your right on brother, for me it’s not just a snow ball, it’s a snow boulder….

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